You can’t have an adventure if you don’t do adventurous things

I am afraid of heights.  I have always been afraid of heights.  When I was a child, there was a structure at a local park where you could see the Disneyland Matterhorn from.  I never saw the Matterhorn through my fearful tears.  I think I made it to the top, but I could hardly pry my fingers from the hard steel bars to look out at the world.

I’ve climbed up high dives and broken into tears.  I went to a rock gym on a date once.  I clambered quickly to the top of the wall, started crying, and refused to come down.  Three times.

I don’t know what it is about heights that scare me.  I don’t think about falling.  I don’t think about much of anything.  Maybe the world is too big.  Maybe I feel the pull of gravity in the wrong place.  Maybe I feel out of control.  I’m not sure.  I’m too busy crying.

Today, my sister and I went to the Thrill It Fun Center .  I  thought it was an arcade, but it turned out to be a kind of play center for kids and adults.  There were games, but also a climbing wall, interactive ball pit (it kind of looked like an obstacle course), laser tag, and, above it all, the High Ropes Challenge .  There, you are secured into a harness, hooked into some beams on the wall, and told to walk ropes dangling above the ground.

I did it.

I was terrified.  When I get scared, I stop talking.  It’s all monosyllables and concentrating on my breathing. I went up first and proceeded to do what was probably one of the most difficult elements:

Image

It was two parallel ropes with handholds about two feet away from each other.  Did I mention I was wearing ballet flats that pinch slightly in the toes?  I was able to concentrate on not wanting to lose the shoes until I got to the first platform.

Then, I realized I was going to have to live there for the rest of my life. My palms sweat, my heart pounded, my mind was blank.  I looked around for an exit, a way to get down.  There was none.  I had no idea what I was going to do.

I don’t remember what the worker said to get me to move.  A normal person may have been sightly shamed by the ten year old who was clambering the rigging like a monkey with no fear, but I am not shamed by my fear.  I accept it.  I embrace it.

In the end, I was coaxed to move.  I did every single element in the course.  There was no one moment that I wasn’t terrified of some nameless terror.  But, I did it.  Because I am the girl who is terrified of heights, will cry when I get to the top, and I climb anyway.

ImageMy sister, Erin, that one geek girl.

Thrill It Girls CIMG3071 CIMG3072

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1 Comment

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One response to “You can’t have an adventure if you don’t do adventurous things

  1. Scott Yarborough

    Great post. I didn’t realize you were so afraid of heights. As someone who is not, I can’t wait to try it myself.

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